We have to be careful of perceived meta too, I didn’t really mention this one. That’s something developers can fall into a trap on. For example back about a year and a half ago. Spears were the meta. ‘Everyone’ used them. A few guides went out, a few youtube videos showcased them in PVP. And everyone swapped to them.
At the time I was using Axe and Shield (I think that’s meta currently, but I’m not sure, haven’t been in heavy PVP in the last few months) and playing around with Sword and Shield for kicks and giggles.
I was destroying spear users. Some of the better PVPers on two servers didn’t have much of a chance against it. The only time I lost to spear users is when there were three of them. And they barely beat me. I’m not tooting my own horn here. I was far from being God’s gift to Conan Exiles. I didn’t think I was that good. Someone I played with at the time was much better at it.
And I do think these spear users probably would have had a better chance against me with different weapons than spears if they had only practiced with them. I mean they were good, their movements were great, but they had focused on a weapon they thought was great.
Then the spear was nerfed, or changed I should say. I don’t know if it needed it. The sample size of people fighting with spears against non-spears was too low to make a guess. And even I have to admit I might have been biased against spears. Not wanting to see it nerfed. But not getting enough time with it to really give it a fair shake. But I had used spears in EA, and felt they were boring so I went with other stuff and got good with it.
I’m reminded of a weapon system in Planetside 2. This was interesting. So this rockets you could fire from a faction’s exoskeleton armor would home in on your cross hair and you could fire 5 of them before reloading. Ravens they were called.
When they were first released. People thought they were bad. They didn’t use them because their damage was too low and their flight time was too slow. I tried them and noticed they had a reload speed of something crazy fast. And trying them out, what they lacked in burst, they made up in DPS. Sustained damage.
Couple that with the fact you could control them out to render range made them extremely good at hitting long range targets. I used them to decimate entire columns of tanks. And pretty much only a half a dozen of us used them for about 6 months
6 months they went unchanged until someone put a youtube video of them or something and then everyone switched to them. It was chaos. For 6 months this OP weapon went unused. They nerfed them, reduced the range from indefinite to 300m, and I think their damage type was changed or something. You couldn’t one clip a tank anymore with them. But they still had pretty decent damage. Overall it was brought in line.
But I’m always fascinated by things like this happening. From what I understand Axe and Shield hasn’t changed much since its combo (with shield) was added. But I’m hearing reports in random threads how they might be over performing.
Metas are tricky. Sometimes they can show an issue. Sometimes they can show actually how little the playerbase actually knows about the game they play. And its tough for devs because lets be honest. Just because you make a game, doesn’t mean you’re the best at it. So predicting what players will use is difficult.